Campus-grown band kicks off Winter Carnival

Picture a typical Goodrich dance party; now, replace the speedy modern dance tracks with classic, soulful hits brought to you by the five members of Seal Team 6 who rocked the stage last Thursday night with a concert that both kicked off Winter Carnival and demonstrated that they deserve a permanent home in the College’s performance circuit.

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The crowd moved to the beat as Seal Team 6 filled Goodrich with upbeat renditions of familiar songs by the likes of The Strokes, Kings of Leon and Ray Charles.

Seal Team 6 first performed at this year’s first First Fridays event, where they featured a mix of new and nostalgic pieces alike. The band’s Winter Carnival concert was a second successful shot at diversifying Goodrich entertainment. Seal Team 6 managed to create a vibrant, fun party environment with a range of covers that spanned the spectrum from laid-back and easygoing to emotionally vivacious.

The band, including guitarist and lead vocalist Matt Schuck ’12, guitarist Kevin Lawkins ’13, keyboardist Sugi Min ’13, bass guitarist Matt Staiger ’12 and guest drummer Sam Kampala ’09 of Darlingside, kicked the evening off with its rendition of “Violet Hill” by Coldplay. It began on a minimalist note, featuring Schuck in an acoustic solo on the guitar, and then branched into a propelling harmony with the entire band joining in.

The audience followed suit. It was that moment, after those first few seconds of the first song, when everyone on the dance floor graduated from casually swaying to moving their feet. It was clear from the get-go that this group had spent considerable time rehearsing together; the way they meshed onstage both musically and with a shared sense of enthusiasm was proof enough.

Over the next several songs, including “Last Nite” by The Strokes and Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” the crowd in Goodrich swelled and those who were already there took the opportunity to perform along with the band, dancing in enlivened clusters to a mix of diverse covers such as Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold is Love,” using the brief pauses between tracks to cheer ecstatically or call out to the musicians onstage.

The band proved its ability to diversify not only the entertainment scene at the College but also its own repertoire. Byron Perpetua ’14, Chris Picardo ’13 and Jackson Scher ’14 joined the group on the horns for “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Ray Charles and “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse, in which Min debuted on vocals. Later on, Caroline Sinico ’14 lent her vocal skill to Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” and Michelle Rodriguez ’12 reprised Adele’s cover of the Bob Dylan original “Make You Feel My Love.”

During their last performance at First Fridays in November, Seal Team 6 split the evening with a DJ, performing for half the concert. This time, however, the group occupied the stage for the long haul, wrapping up the just under two-hour concert with as much energy as it communicated in its opening number.

Especially notable were the band’s emphatic renditions of the Kings of Leon hit “Sex on Fire” and “Somebody to Love” by Queen, a classic piece that it pulled off with musical duress, all the while inciting the crowd to a pretty animated sing-along.

Seal Team 6 wrapped up the concert with an ending sequence that featured three stone cold Beatles hits: “Lady Madonna,” “Back in the USSR” and “Saw Her Standing There.” But even after their bow, Seal Team 6 had more to say. Answering the chants of “One more song!” from the crowd, Schuck came to the mic and smilingly conceded, “If you insist,” before the group launched into a delivery of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” putting heart and soul into laying out these last lyrics.

The concert was certainly interactive earlier, but audience participation reached an entirely new level when, after the first several bars, the front five or six rows rushed onto the stage to join the band. It was the perfect conclusion for the concert and the perfect introduction to this year’s Winter Carnival weekend. The band, which was invited to perform at The Log next month, truly put on a Williams concert, one that united the audience on the dance floor and lent itself more to playful, good old fun than the rowdy antics we often come to associate with Goodrich parties. Seal Team 6 took a laid-back Thursday night and transformed it into a refreshing proof of just how much a live student band can thrive here.